Stafford Carson

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John Stafford Carson (born 29 May 1951) is a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland from 2009 to 2010, when he was replaced by his successor Dr Norman Hamilton. Mr Carson was nominated by 10 out of the 21 Presbyteries who met throughout Ireland to vote for a new Moderator and took office on 1 June 2009 in succession to Dr Donald Patton. He was recently appointed to the post of Principal and Professor of Ministry at Union Theological College, Belfast.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Larne on 29 May 1951, John Stafford Carson attended Moyle Primary School and Larne Grammar School. In 1973 he graduated with a BSc from University of Ulster in Coleraine and three years later was awarded an MA from the same university.

Brought up in the Elim Church, Mr Carson was also strongly influenced through the ministry of Christian Endeavour and Youth for Christ and after his marriage joined his wife's congregation of First Portglenone Presbyterian.

While studying for his MA, Mr Carson taught Biology in Ballymena Technical College before his theological studies took him to the USA and Westminster Theological Seminary where he graduated with a Masters in Arts and Ministry in 1980 before completing his ministerial training at Union Theological College in Belfast.


In 1983 he was ordained as assistant minister in the High Street Antrim congregation before being installed in the joint charge of Kells and Eskylane a year later. In 1991 Mr Carson was called to be minister of Carnmoney where he stayed until taking up the post of Academic Dean at Westminster Theological Seminary in 2000. When he had to leave WTS in 2005 he returned to Northern Ireland and became minister of the First Portadown congregation for 8 years.

He has convened various committees of the General Assembly, particularly those related to theological education of ministers and the provision of resources to help local churches be more effective in their mission outreach.


An Ulster Rugby season ticket holder, Mr Carson is married to Patricia and has two daughters and a son.

External links[edit]

Presbyterian Church titles
Preceded by
Donald Patton (2008)
Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
Succeeded by
Norman Hamilton